On Friday, May 17, Oregon State University invites the community to the fifth annual Barley Days to celebrate and learn about one of the world’s oldest grains.
Crop and soil science professor Dr. Patrick Hayes is the principal investigator and head of the barley project at OSU. He organizes the event with the help of research assistants and graduate students.
The team aims to “educate growers, consumers, maltsters, brewers, bakers, health enthusiasts, and other barley aficionados on the research that we’re doing on barley at OSU,” said research assistant Brigid Meints.
Because of its versatility, barley can fit a wide variety of needs. The Willamette Valley is playing an important role in reestablishing barley as a food crop.
According to faculty research assistant Scott Fisk, “Much of the barley in the Willamette Valley and Pacific Northwest is currently grown for feed. There is an increasing market for locally grown food barley due to its health benefits, and it is beginning to show up in co-ops and farmers’ markets. Many breweries have expressed interest in making beer from locally grown and malted barley.”
The organizers wanted to provide a venue for both education and networking.
“Because we have such a wide range of people attending, it is a great opportunity to meet and interact with other people who are also interested in barley research,” said Meints.
The day begins at 9 a.m. at the OSU West Greenhouse and continues with an afternoon tour of the Hyslop Farm north of Corvallis. The team monitors about 10,000 experimental varieties of barley and has developed recipes to showcase this crop’s delicious possibilities. Visitors will be able to tour fields with project researchers where experimental lines and barley cultivars from around the world are grown.
The evening will offer beer, food, and socializing, with local breweries on hand. Details for the social hour will be available the day of the event. For more information about the event or the barley project, visit www.barleyworld.org or the Facebook page www.facebook.com/BarleyWorld.
By Bridget Egan